Lead Time Improvement


Lead Time, Lead Time Improvement, Lean Services, TOC, Theory of Constraints, Throughput, Lean training

When defining customer value, for many organization types, lead time always makes the value list. It is typically this customer value determining the length of a continuous relationship, a competitive edge

Lead time improvement and continuous improvement thereof requires a systematic approach. It is a measure requiring participation and improvement efforts from many of the organization departments:

  1. Leadership team
    1. Establishing a culture of “Never Happy With The Current Condition”
    2. People skill development in System Flow
    3. Establishing how everyone can contribute towards Lead Time improvement
    4. Use of Leaders Standard Work in establishing target conditions
    5. Leadership Engagement Training
  2. Scheduling and inventory control
    1. Changing from push systems to hybrid systems like CONWIP, or  complete pull systems
    2. Steady State Flow a target condition
    3. Just In Time materials, services, and knowledge
  3. Supply Chain
    1. JIT systems
    2. Supplier partnerships
    3. Suitable specifications (less variation)
  4. Process Design and Engineering
    1. Value Stream Mapping, a continuous tool
    2. Improving cycle time at the bottleneck
    3. Process step elimination
    4. Continuous flow through line balancing and cellular type layouts
  5. Pre-order, work order generation
    1. Value Stream Mapping to reduce process step cycle times
    2. Design processes and layouts conducive to improved communication (information flow)
  6. Engineering and Maintenance
    1. The factors of OEE Overall Equipment Effectiveness must be correctly measured to understand and achieve the realization of Ideal Cycle Time (manual processes included).
    2. TPM Total Productive Maintenance implementation
    3. Setup time, Ideal Cycle time, Transportation time, and Wait time objectives
  7. Quality Control and Systems
    1. Determine acceptable process sigma levels, especially sub-processes
    2. Systematically reduce variation
    3. Six Sigma is the main improvement tool

Lead Time Definition –  is the average length of time it will take a new set of inputs to move through receiving the order, through the value stream, and finally through to the customer.

Cycle Time Definition – length of time, on average, that it takes to complete a step or set of steps within an operation.

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